Ramadan 2023 fasting: Imagine the smell of freshly baked bread, the sizzle of spiced meats on the grill, and the sight of vibrant colours and flavours from every dish. That is what Iftar is all about. However, the festival of Ramadan is more than just food. With Ramadan quickly approaching and 'iftari' preparations on the mind, it becomes essential to consider how to help best people with diabetes and their caregivers to celebrate the festival to its fullest. Navigating one's fast can be tricky it involves a drastic change in routine and lifestyle, making it difficult for people to keep their glucose levels in range throughout the day.
Dr Niti Agarwal, DNB Endocrinologist, Max Super speciality Hospital, Patparganj, Delhi, said, "For people with controlled diabetes, there are steps they can take to manage their sugar levels, especially while fasting for long periods during Ramadan. People should follow several healthy eating habits for the periods between 'sehri' and 'iftar'. Don't forget to monitor your blood sugar during your fast; you can do this effortlessly while on the go as there are now Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device options in addition to conventional blood glucose metres requiring finger pricking. Taking one's doctor's advice is also important to understand any changes required with their medication."
During your fast, employing metrics like time in range through a CGM device can be extremely helpful in managing diabetes. Checking your blood sugar readings more often is associated with a greater time in range, which can improve your glucose control and reduce the risk of long-term health complications. One should aim to be in range for about 17 out of 24 hours daily. Besides this, there are a few key things people with diabetes should keep in mind while celebrating Ramadan.
Four tips for managing your diabetes while you observe Ramadan this year:
Sleep well: Adequate hours of good quality sleep are essential to good health and wellness. Significantly during Ramadan, when your pre-dawn meal is vital to sustaining your energy, getting enough sleep is critical. This also helps avoid sleep deprivation, which can impact your hunger. This can also support metabolism and help regulate blood glucose levels, which is essential when managing diabetes.
Have an energy-boosting Sehri (pre-dawn) meal: Include more fibre-rich starchy foods that release energy slowly, from oats and multigrain bread to brown or basmati rice, along with vegetables, lentils (dal), and more. You can also have proteins like fish, tofu, and nuts for power. Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid sugary or highly caffeinated drinks like coffee, soft drinks, and more.
Properly replenish during Iftar (breaking of fast): The fast is traditionally broken with dates and milk, which you can follow with complex carbohydrates. Make sure to hydrate yourself as well. Consume sweet and fried or oily foods in moderation, as these can affect your health. Fruit before bedtime can also help maintain sugar levels until early morning.
Create a plan: What you can do if your blood sugar is too high or low during, before, or after fasting is critical? It is essential to take your doctor's advice on aiming to be in the target glucose range for at least 75% of the day, even during your fast.
Follow a gentle exercise routine: Keep physical activity but reduce the intensity to avoid extra exertion. You can try simple workouts, walking, or yoga. Resistance training can also help you avoid muscle loss and build strength at this time.
In Addition To These Tips
People with diabetes should remain alert to any trends of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia and take care of these immediately. So, while some people with diabetes choose to fast during Ramadan, having a ready plan can help you manage your health at this time.